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We have the winning mentality at home - Herath

Contrary to the displays in recent matches, Rangana Herath believes the P Sara Oval pitch will have something more for the batsmen AFP

Sri Lanka's most recent Test outing may have been the chastening 0-3 result in South Africa, but, where home Tests are concerned, there is a great deal of belief, acting captain Rangana Herath said.

There has always been a disparity between Sri Lanka's home form and their overseas returns, but this has been especially pronounced over the last two years. While they have lost nine of their previous ten away Tests - not counting the series against Zimbabwe - they have won each of the last six Tests at home. Half of those wins came against Australia, who were the top-ranked Test side at the time.

"The most important thing for a team to have is a winning mentality, and I think we have that in our team," Herath said. "In matches we've played at home - against Australia especially - we've won. Maybe all our players won't perform in the same match, but the trust that we have in each other is what helps us progress. We've got to carry that on in the next match as well."

Among the other home trends Sri Lanka will seek to extend is the proliferation of centuries. Five batsmen have scored hundreds in two of Sri Lanka's most recent Tests at home. With the batsmen having already spoken in meetings about turning their big scores into match-winning ones, Herath hoped for more of the same at the P Sara Oval.

"We play with either six or seven batsmen, and not everyone will get runs in every match. What we stress is that whoever gets a start, needs to carry on and get a big score," he said. "That's what Kusal Mendis and Upul Tharanga did in the last match. I'd love to see all the batsmen get runs, and I'm sure someone will here."

Though the surface at the P Sara has sometimes been a difficult venue for batsmen - Angelo Mathews even described it as an 'extreme pitch' during the most recent Test at the ground - Herath suggested there would be a little more for batsmen in this match, though bowlers of any ilk can prosper as well. The P Sara ground is effectively Herath's home venue in domestic cricket.

"The pitch is pretty similar to Galle. We know here that there is bounce for the fast bowlers in the first two to three days, though I'm not sure if this wicket will live up to that. I've played here a lot, and my experience is that towards the fourth and fifth days, it will take some spin as well."